Suspended floor talk - Mountain Buzz

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 4
Suspended floor talk

Hi all,

I am new to this forum but have been lurking from the bushes for a while now. I just picked up a new to me, older than dirt, 12’ Avon bucket boat. I took the frame I’ve been using off my 12’ momentum SB (which I will now use as primarily a whitewater boat) and it seems to fit in nicely.

It’s my understanding that if I want added comfort for passengers, dogs and dry feet, as well as any little bit of carrying capacity that won’t get caught up on rocks and tear the entire floor out, I should be building a suspended floor.

My current thoughts are either 3/4” thick plywood or polymax / versa pad. I am thinking of building a suspended floor the entire length of the boat, mostly for added standing stability.

Ive thought about the polymax versapad route and I’d definitely want to attach some supports to the underside, as this much material will flex like crazy under normal human weights. I was thinking of framing the outside with a 2x2 wood frame and a few crossbars, but can’t think of how I would attach the wood to the versapad. I like the versapad for weight savings and low/no maintenance, but can it be supported??

The other potential issue I see is that I only have a single rail type design, Will this make a difference on how the Suspended floor will hang from the frame, as the frame won’t be directly above but more up and on top of the tubes?

I have a scrap piece of 2x4’ plywood I might just round out the edges and create some strap attachment points and give it a quick try, see what kind of stability I will get.

Cheers, Smash
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
Livenswell's Avatar
Edgewood..., Not New...Not Mexico
Paddling Since: 0930
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 74
Add D-Rings to Hang Your Floors

Hey Coult45, welcome to the Buzz!

An idea for hanging your floors is to glue in several 1" D-rings along the inner tubes and hang/drop your floor boards from them using 1" cam straps adjusted to whatever height you want to run your boards above the raft floor. Then a few straps through the frame where the boards hang below the frame. I also glued in larger 2" D-rings to the floor under each board to anchor the boards to the floor with heavy 2" cam straps. I cut several rigging holes into each board to strap things down to each board and covered them with polyurethane. I can post some photos later if you like to see my floor set up and how its rigged

I run 3/4" plywood floors in only the bow and stern where I typically stow gear and have passengers, and I have a diamond plate floor hung in the footwell. IMO I would imagine that a full length floor would be unnecessary and super heavy so I would recommend focusing on making your floors only for the bow and stern or wherever you put gear/passengers on the raft. Suspended floors are indeed great for dry feet and protecting your floor, you and your passengers will be pleased with the upgrade
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
whip's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 571
I'd pull that rear seat off the frame and put a crossbar where the rear foot drop is. Put 5 D-rings to hold a cargo floor in the rear for multi days. I'd put that high back seat in the cockpit. I'd hang my floor in the cock pit from the frame. Can't think why you want a floor in the front. I'd put running boards on the frame alongside the cockpit so dogs and people can move fore and aft on a nice planar surface. Oh and I think you'd like that highback seat in the cockpit.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #4
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 4
Thank you both for your replies so far. Couple more questions.

So I’m understanding that I would not want the straps from my floor to bend over the tubes and attach to frame that is placed on top of the tube, or bend over the tubes to attach to exterior d-rings. I have ordered a few d rings already that I planned on placing on the outside tubes, as this old gal of an Avon only has webbing rings and no d-rings.

Another thing I was thinking of was getting the NRS cargo platform for the rear bay. This would seem to take place of a “floor” but doesn’t seem really sturdy enough to stand on. Would be good for the rear bays worth of overnight gear. I attached a picture of the NRS platform below.

On the topic of the seat selection, why move the high back to the rowers seat? Obviously my frame is a mishmash of random parts, the rear portion being a full on stern row frame that I swapped to the high back (for what I thought would be more comfort) and a swivel seat.

Cheers all!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #5
Flathead, Montana
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 15
Hey Coult45,

Couple of thoughts from another newbie here. I can't see why you couldn't support the NRS cargo mesh from the exterior D-rings if you have them. That's what I've always done with ours and it's never been a problem. Same for floor support straps running from the frame sides over the inside of the tubes. I'm sure attaching new D-rings inside is preferable. Maybe someone here can enlighten me on why that's a bad idea.

Having a floor run the full length of a bucket boat, besides being heavy, could interfere w/ your ability to bail quickly if necessary. I've happily used 3/4 marine grade plywood w/ I/O carpet for floors. I second Whip's comment about side boards.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #6
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by whip View Post
I'd put running boards on the frame alongside the cockpit so dogs and people can move fore and aft on a nice planar surface. Oh and I think you'd like that highback seat in the cockpit.
Any way to do this without adding another rail? The way my frame sits right now, is dead center on the tubes.

I’d probably need to add a second rail on both sides, which I guess would then make hanging the floor frame those inner rails easier / stronger than hanging from the outer rail that rests on the tube?

The highback is on the rear seat as it was almost necessary to have more support, otherwise you felt like you were falling out of the boat sitting back there. It’s sort of my backup seat, for if I have three people instead of two, that’s a good seat. Obviously this is limited to lighter overnight loads or day trip beer floats. Perhaps it is worth moving it to the rowers seat, as that seat gets more use than any other.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #7
Hailey, Idaho
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 38
I used to use one of those NRS cargo floors that you pictured. Worked pretty darn good.

a) it worked fine bringing the straps in from exterior D rings, over the tubes, to hang it in my stern cargo space. Seemed to work fine. I guess over the decades it might be creating unnecessary chafing... but I never noticed it.

b) it worked pretty well for what it is. Depending on preferences, it's not as good as hanging a rigid suspended floor because you still had to watch what you put where because it's always going to flex and sag a little bit: ie, still gotta be a little careful putting hard things on the bottom because it could still impact the floor vs. a rock.

Good luck!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #8
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 4
You will not have to add another rail to support the web floors. I have been running web or plywood floors for over 40 years with no problems. Make sure the strap buckle is on top of the webbing, not against the tube. A good solution for these pan floor boats is to suspend the coolers and gear bags from the seat cross rail and the kick bar cross rail to the next forward cross rail. and have a plywood floor hanging in the cockpit area middle slot for rocket boxes or water jugs secured to the floor. You only need a square plywood floor with rounded corners hung with straps, don't use the plastic sheeting, it is not stiff enough. Then a mesh or plywood floor floor for the rear cargo section to finish loading. Leave the bow floor open so you can bail. A 10'' plywood deck on each side of the frame will make it easier to move around the boat and will provide much more room to strap on ammo cans and dry bags.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #9
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 4
My current worry about the suspended floor concept is stability. If I only build a captains floor, then I foresee it swaying about and moving a lot. I think of standing on and old school wooden swing, pic below. If that swing were much longer, comparing a captains floor to an entire length, or at the very least, captains bay all the way up to the front bay, wouldn't it be a WHOLE lot more stable? I am having a tough time picturing these suspended floors without a ton of sway or movement, unless they are butted up against coolers, tubes, or something else solid. Thoughts?

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #10
SLC, Utah
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 66
I love my high back seat for rowing. If I really need to pull hard, I can put my back into it and it helps get the power I need.
Some people don't like the way they work with a PFD. The high back can hit the back of it, but I guess it depends on the person and the pfd. My old stohlquist works great with it, but when I upgraded to a new nrs ninja, it jams up the back.
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